RE: "My, What a Busy Week!" [Nov 21] in which we take a giant step outside ourselves to recommend a show featuring two popular Portland musical acts.

DEAR SARAH MIRK—Laura Gibson = so dreamy. Typhoon = mush. They're just another emo band that sounds like the Polyphonic Spree, only not as large.

-Isaac Hudson


RE: "Ah! So THIS Is What an Atheist Looks Like." [Blogtown, Nov 20], in which author Wm. Steven Humphrey shares a billboard meant to un-demonize atheists by showing an example of a normal, smiling dude that had been vandalized to give him devil horns.

STEVE—Curious point raised by a [commenter] on your website, who noted that the person on the billboard's last name, Hecate, is that of an ancient Greek goddess associated with witchcraft and necromancy, among other things. That led me to do a web search, which indicated he may be the only person in the US with that name. That begs the question of whether he chose that name for himself, and if so, whether he's the best choice to be a poster child for a tolerance of atheism campaign. As for me, I would say so, as I believe tolerance of atheists who might have an affinity for the dark arts people is no less a good goal than tolerance of run-of-the-mill no-godders.   

-Steve A. 


RE: "Pig Stripping: Fetish or Sadism?" [Letters, Nov 21], in which a reader questions whether there's "perhaps a whiff of sadism" in "Barnyard Butchery" [Food Issue, Nov 14], in which author Chris Onstad recounts the experience of taking a pig-head butchery class.

I'm a vegetarian, but still, I can't see how it's sadism to cut meat off of the head of a DEAD pig. If Porky has already slipped this mortal coil, cutting meat off his head is no more sadistic than performing an autopsy is being sadistic to the corpse you're performing it on.

-posted by AlaskanNow


RE: "Keep Portland Paranormal" [Feature Nov 21], in which author Alex Zielinksi takes a look at the prevalence of interest and belief in the paranormal in Portland.

First of all, this article asks the wrong question. How about "Why do so many people in Portland believe in the paranormal?" I'd wager for the same reasons so many people here believe in homeopathy, horoscopes, and fluoride as a conspiracy. I've been on ghost hunts. I've chased UFOs. There's a lot more psychology, sociology, and flat-out misinterpretation that takes place under heightened circumstances. It's not ignorance by any stretch, but it does go hand in hand with a poor understanding of the scientific method. When you start at your conclusion and work backward, the tendency is to cherry-pick data to support your conclusions and see patterns that aren't really there. As for collecting evidence: We live in an age where virtually everyone is armed with a camera phone. If there were so many convincing cases of hauntings, alien encounters, hell, BIGFOOT... we'd have some decent photos or video by now. As the maxim goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. At such time that something convincing is submitted, tested and tested again, the scientific outlook will adapt.

-posted by groschopf


RE: "Tonight at the Bagdad: Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein" [Blogtown, Nov 20], regarding a promotional appearance the Portlandia actors were making in support of the new book Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors, and containing an unfavorable review.

I just want to say that I sincerely appreciate the amount of time the Portland Mercury spends on writing about Portlandia. Your critique and dislike of the show makes for a more interesting conversation and polemic, and I much prefer those to ambivalence. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks.

-Carrie Brownstein

CONGRATULATIONS TO CARRIE for publicly admitting that we're right about why Portlandia isn't funny. That must have been a very difficult and brave thing to do. As consolation, Carrie wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can drink a pitcher of beer while watching a film, which is kind of a Portland (no "ia") thing.